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Hi Maria !

Two questions. What is the shiny dark green bug about the same size as a ladybird and with a similar shell (no legs visible because I suspect they are smaller than a ladybirds). If you see them on a leaf, all you see is a shell shaped insect (no antenna or legs or anything).

Second question. Is it safe to use Neem oil with ladybirds and praying mantids present?

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Hi John

Great question. What you are seeing are an Australian species of Lady Bug!

The steel blue lady beetle (Halmus chalybeus) is described as about 4 mm long and dark metallic blue.

This ladybug is originally from Australia, but since this beautiful Aussie ladybeetle loves to eat pests that bother citrus trees such as black scale, blue gum scale, aphids, and mites, it has been introduced in other places such as New Zealand, Hawaii and the continental US.

Neem is actually a three-in-one solution, acting as a fungicide, insecticide and miticide. As an insecticide, Neem is quite selective in that it will not kill or repel you beneficial insects. It will kill any insect that ingests it. By applying to the foliage, any insect that chews and eats your foliage will die. Since beneficial insects (such as Lady Bugs or Praying Mantis) eat insects rather than leaves, they are not affected.

Happy gardening

Maria – Palmers garden consultant

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